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In ‘cordial meeting’, Modi and Obama talk partnership, India’s NSG bid

india Updated: Sep 08, 2016 18:37 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Barack Obama

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama greet each other during the group photo session at the 11th East Asia summit in Vientiane, Laos.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama on Thursday on the sidelines of the 14th India-ASEAN Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

The US “strongly supports” India’s NSG membership bid, Obama told Modi as they discussed the priorities in the strategic partnership, including deepening a civil nuclear cooperation and combating climate change.

“Two democracies and a defining partnership of our era! PM meets President Obama @POTUS on sidelines of EAS,” tweeted foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Read: At Asean summit, Modi says export of terror, radicalisation a threat to region

The meeting --- said to be the eighth between the two leaders in the last two years-- was “extremely warm and cordial”, Swarup said. The duo had first met at the White House in September 2014 when Modi travelled to Washington after being invited by the US President.

A White House official, giving details of the meeting, said, “Reaffirming the strong bonds of friendship between the United States and India, the President underscored that the United States strongly supports India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”

The US has been playing a lead role in supporting India’s bid in the 48-member elite group. China had scuttled New Delhi’s bid in June.

Among other things, the two leaders discussed energy cooperation and the Paris climate change pact, and reviewed the progress on the India-US collaboration in nuclear energy, solar energy and innovation.

Obama expressed confidence that the introduction of the landmark goods and services tax, which recently got Parliament’s nod, will “unleash significant economic activity in (India)”.

President Obama assured Modi that he would remain “a strong partner of India and help in any way I can”. He also praised Modi’s vision of entrepreneurship and innovation, which he said would be “very important for a country like India”.

Modi invited him to visit India after he demits office. Obama’s second term as US President coming to an end in January next year.

On a lighter note, Obama said he and his wife Michelle were yet to see the Taj Mahal. Last year, Obama had cancelled a planned trip to the Taj Mahal, cutting short his visit to India to travel to Saudi Arabia following King Abdullah’s death.

Modi had also exchanged views with Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China’s Hangzhou on Sunday, with the US President praising the “bold policy” move on GST reform in a “difficult” global economic scenario.

With inputs from ANI